“The first kiss is not the most difficult; it is the last one.”
Accepting the death of a dear person is always a painful event, whatever the circumstances. Initially, the survivor may be in a state of shock and denial, may not believe what happened to him/her, may feel unreal, and may expect that at any time the person will walk through the door or will call. They go to the funeral, but the person is absent. Death feels foreign.
Afterwards, there may be stronger emotions of rage and guilt. Rage with the person who died, with the doctors, with themselves, anyone can be a target. The search is for blame; we feel guilty. “If only,” comes to mind: if only I had been better, and if I had arrived sooner and if and if …we regret thousands of things that we didn’t do or didn’t say. We can easily go from crying to rage. Time goes by and we enter into the negation period; there is a search for a solution to the loss, like “over there, he/she is better off, he/she is already resting”, etc.
Time goes by and the absence of the deceased becomes more visible; sadness arrives, resentment begins to leave and often one may despair, experience the disorganization, and feel that what was easily done before can’t be done. This is the depression. It begins to become apparent that the other person will not return, the disconnection with the one who left is felt, home feels empty now, the bed is larger, and during difficult times the sadness will become stronger for the loss. With time comes acceptance that the loss is real and unavoidable.
There are no rigid phases; the person may go from one emotional response to the other, depending on many factors. In general, the mourning is longer and more difficult when there have been previous traumas or when the death of the loved one was traumatic.
When a person dies, crying is not only because of his/her absence, but for all that it implies, a new life without him or her. One has to assume more responsibilities, sometimes there is economic hardship; there are many changes that need to take place and all this implies additional stress at the time of mourning.
Nowadays, fortunately, there are therapeutic tools that are very effective to work through suffering due to the loss of a loved one. The short-term therapy can be very effective in reducing the emotional rigidity due to the pain, helping the patient work through the rage, the guilt and the sadness. It is like an onion - the layers begin to fall until arriving to sadness and returning to hope.
In 2006, I had the honor of studying with Dr. Botkin who developed a method of IADC, where some people can heal the guilt, the pain and the rage, and experience the reconnection with the deceased. As a result, they experience hurt and forgiveness, and increase the ability to love and take care of others. If you wish to learn more about this procedure, you can contact me. It is a beautiful process. I feel privileged to be able to accompany others in this spiritual experience.
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